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Yemen 14, United States 13, Us 13, Afghanistan 13, U.s. 8, Pakistan 6, Karzai 5, Iraq 5, Al Qaeda 4, China 4, Obama Administration 4, Taliban 3, New York City 3, Iran 3, Richard Reid 2, Legalzoom 2, Medicare 2, Fareed Zakaria 2, India 2, Florida 2,
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  CNN    CNN Newsroom    News/Business.  

    January 10, 2010
    5:00 - 6:00pm EST  

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a talk with the chairman of the joint chiefs of chaf, fareed zakaria. happy new year to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm fareed zakaria. centrally involving the attempted christmas bombing in the united states, before we get to it, i want to give you some of my own thoughts about that attempted terrorist attack. senator dianne feinstein says that she believes the united states government should overreact rather than underreact to these kinds of events. isn't that exactly backwards? the purpose of terrorism is not to kill the few hundred that are attacked. but to terrorize the tens upon tens of millions who watch. terrorism is unique as a military strategy and that it depends for its effectiveness on the response of the society. for it to work all of us have to
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respond with fear and hysteria. so far we are doing just that. i don't meaning to suggest by this that the system worked. obviously it didn't. when u.s. officials got information from the terrorist's father they should have immediately checked if he had a visa and hut him on a no-fly list and not allowed him to enter an airplane with a bomb, makeshift bomb. these are all mistakes and should be fixed. but there will be other mistakes uncovered over the years as we continue going through this process. and we must have the ability to calmly, seriously, effectively react to these problems and improve the system and so that it gets better and better every year rather than going crazy. the atmosphere in washington these days, the media calls the political rangeling, calls for heads to roll, these are all indications of panic. and partisanship. and overreacting will produce the worst policy responses, large broad brush expensive efforts, get the military involved in every place that
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claims they have al qaeda. these might not be the most effective fixes. we need less grandstanding from everyone. and including the president of the united states and more sober efforts to simply improve security and resilience within this country. and anyway, that's my view. you will hear from the superb pan ol' this later. but first an in-depth conversation with america's top military man, admiral michael mullen the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. let's get started. admiral mullen, thanks for joining us. does the christmas bombing suggest strength or weakness on al qaeda's part? at one level i look at it and think to myself, you know, eight years after 9/11, this is all that they have been able to do. that's not very impressive. >> i think it is important that took -- we look at this across a
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decade, if you will. there have been an awful lot of attacks which have been thwarted. the system -- i think general hayden said sunday that the system has a human dimension to it and it is not perfect. and we need to do everything that we can to make it as perfect as possible so that some of these spectacular attacks cannot be pulled off. >> but is there also a case to be made for being honest with the american people that, you know, there is a human dimension and that the -- sometimes people will get through. >> i'm very confident this president, this administration, the people -- my colleagues will take these lessons and do everything we can to adjust where mistakes were made and make sure that it doesn't recur again. >> few days before the christmas attack, you give an interview in which you talked about your fears about yemen becoming a new base for al qaeda or new haven for al qaeda.
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have u.s. forces actually engaged al qaeda in yemen? have we struck them directly? >> again, i'm not going to go into the details of our operations. this has been led and rightfully so by the president and yemen president sollak, his forces and it has been very clear that their leadership has been critical here. we have provided some support in that regard and we will continue to do that. to meet these challenges. but it is -- it has been my -- in my view, an impressive operation on the part of the yemeni forces and their improves over the last couple of years. >> you know, a number of people say that this is a weak, dysfunctional, corrupt government. staffed with his relatives and faces three battles as it were, remember bell onin the north,
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successionist movement in the south and then this battle with al qaeda and that he's actually focused least on the one against al qaeda. >> we have been focused on yemen for some time. so i can speak very specifically to the improvements that they have made and also to the challenges. i think what you see in the public discussion now are the challenges and -- that are out there. you talk to the three different areas that he's very much focused on. and it is a country that is weak economically it has -- some of the classic tribal challenges that exist in countries like this. and the leadership there, i think, recognizes this and working hard to move forward. but i don't understate the challenges internal to yemen as well as the need for the international community to support and help with respect to how we address this in the future. and this al qaeda threat is not going away. it is going to keep coming at us
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and i don't just mean us, the united states. i think that us internationally until we take steps to finish it off. >> you know, if i look at the intelligence that one gets and reads, it suggests there are a few hundred al qaeda members or operatives in yemen. by your own admission that's probably more than there are in afghanistan. yet, we have -- will have 100,000 troops in afghanistan. why not take a much more aggressive approach in yemen? >> well, again, it is a sovereign country. we have great respect for the president there in terms of his -- his judgment in terms of what he needs to do this. right now, as far as any kind of boots on the ground there, with respect to the united states, that's just not -- that's not a possibility. he's just -- we are not into those kinds of discussions. and in all of these -- all of these fights with al qaeda, and with terrorists, it is typically
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relatively small number, nimble, agile, very capable, cunning, and they have studied us and they adjust. and so typically it does take larger numbers to get at those. in the case of afghanistan, where you talk about we have -- between ourselves and nato, and other countries actually contributing, upwards of 100,000 troops, that's really focused on making sure that the taliban doesn't turn afghanistan upside down and then create the kind of perfect missive environment where al qaeda could return. >> now, you are just back from afghanistan. >> yes. >> give us a report on what kind of progress you see being made in those goals and particularly in getting pashtuns, make up about 50% of afghanistan, but -- probably 100% of the insurgency and the taliban, getting them to
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move over to the government side in some form or the other. >> i will give you some data points just based on this trip. in december, we sea kruted an exceptionally high number of the afghan's army, specifically so much so the minister of defense had to stop recruiting mid month because he was well over what the system could absorb. and that's a good sign. that doesn't mean we won't have continued challenge because we do have challenges in development of their force was respect to attrition and retenti retention. we raised their pay. we think that they are showing up now and has a lot to do with that improved incentives. and i was in kandahar where i met with a number of elders there and the message that they sent me was the -- we must see the endemic corruption at every level, significant steps have to be taken with respect to that. certainly president obama and many others have spoken to the need for president karzai and
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his leadership to address this. >> what's your sense of that? have you seen any change in president karzai's footsteps? >> initially -- he was -- looking to ministers and he and i actually talked about this in his strategic intent is there. what struck me in meeting with these elders was the evolution of this corruption. so it wasn't something that was always there. it has been over the last decade or so that they spoke to it. these same elders said to me that they were embarrassed, that the united states soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines were dieing and they want to lead this effort. they appreciate what we have done but they really want to lead this effort and this is something i know the president, president karzai, is trying to engender in his leadership with his people. >> you talk about the leadership issue and talked in the past and in interviews about the critical need of good local leadership.
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president karzai, by many accounts, is not moving forward in his second term. the -- his appointments to the cabinet were largely rejected by parliament and many on grounds that these people were corrupt. do you see a significant change in president karzai's attitude? >> i clearly from my advice hit the time absolutely. and it -- i guess the signature speech would have been his inauguration speech. i think that was on the 19th of november. his very hard work to get ministers in place who were committed to that and the ones that i'm heavily focused on obviously, defense and the interior because of the afghan security forces. >> you are satisfied with this? >> yes. absolutely. and that they are committed. >> have you spoken in the past about how important pakistan is to the afghanistan struggle and you have -- i think perhaps the first senior administration official to publicly acknowledge that, in fact, the leadership of the afghan taliban is almost entirely in pakistan.
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now, do you see any significant shift in the pakistani military in being willing to take on not the taliban in pakistan that attacks pakistanis but the taliban that attacks the afghans? in other words, the people that were making life difficult for americans, for american troops. >> the way i describe that is i would say it is shifting, these are discussions that i have had with the head of their army and i met with him many, many times. in fact, the same visit when i was in afghanistan i was with him in pakistan. and i see more and more focus on this as he described to me most recently. he just finished his ninth campaign over the last year, year and a half and very challenging him, shifted. he shifted his forces over there and learning counterinsurgency
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and flew all day south to north. a lot of us thought s.w.a.t. was a year ago and headed is completely reverse. >> there are people who say you having invested a lot in the relationship with the pakistani military with the general and met him something close to 20 times. you -- you don't have much to show for it in the sense of the pakistani military taking on the afghan taliban. again, not the people attacking pakistanis who, of course, will take on their immortal threat but the ones that are killing americans or indians or westerners. >> i'm invested -- i invested my time in a relationship with a country that i think is absolutely critical to the united states. and not just the united states military. we have a long history of support for pakistan and we have also left them hanging several times. it is going to take, i think, a long time to fill up that trust. that's one of the reasons that i
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go there so often to understand really through their eyes what their challenges are and try to rebuild that trust. so that's what i'm -- that's what i worked so hard on. >> we will be right back. >> are we at war? not at war? the obama administration at war. this is of course we are at war. literally in the sense of conducting an armed conflict. launching missile strikes against people in at least three different countries.
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let me ask you about another country in the broadly speaking in the region, iran. you have talked about the need to think about all options with regard to the iran and with regard to making sure that they do not develop nuclear weapons. let's be specific. do you believe that there is a military option for the united states in preventing iran from acquiring nuclear weapons? >> i wouldn't go into specific military options but when i speak of leaving all options on the table, certainly it includes the potential for military options. i have also been very vocal on the need for the diplomatic, the political, the international focus here, to generate enough intensity and motivation on the part of the leadership of iran
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to not consummate this threat. and turn what i clearly see as their continued development of nuclear weapons and the strategic intent to do so to basically -- >> just to be clear, you are saying that they continued development of nuclear weapons. do you believe there is a clear path to weaponization? >> i believe that they are continuing to do that. i have for some time. and with the strategic intent to do that, i think that would be an incredibly destabilizing outcome and potentially generate a nuclear weapons race in that part of the world, i also think an attack and -- i have said this many times, i think that an attack would also be by us or anybody else, would be very destabilizing, and so -- in that very narrow space, i think it is important that leaders throughout the world do everything we can to make sure that one they don't consummate it and two, we don't get to a
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point where an attack is imminent. >> how do you factor in the reality of iranian opposition? opposition leaders said the me if the united states or even -- more difficult for them if israel were to attack iran, that the first day -- after the attack, we, meaning iranian opposition, would all have to come out and support the regime. because we would have been attacked by a foreign power and we would have have to show demonstrate our patriotism and support the regime and that would be the end of the iranian open zbligs i think that that's a very legitimate concern and one that we all understand and weigh and as we look -- as we go forward looking at ways to address this challenge. i mean, i -- iran is a very critical country. and they have a wonderful population that can deliver a lot to the region and to the world. what i'm most focused on is their leadership which has been
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much more destructive than constructive and that's really the focus here. so i applaud the efforts to try to get them to the table to ensure this doesn't happen. i think that needs to continue. >> let me ask you about russia. do you find in your dealings with your counterparts in russia that the -- the russian military at its highest levels views the united states as a partner, an adversa adversary, or something in the middle? >> probably closer to something in the middle. i mean, i met several times with my counterpart there, and some of his military leadership, he's very committed to growing this relationship. clearly we have challenges not just military to military but between the two countries. i'm also not knew eve. i think they are a country that we need to continue to engage and understand and be realistic about what the possibilities are. i have spent a fair amount of time working on the new start
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follow-on agreement which is the nuclear weapons agreement that hopefully will be put in place here in the next few weeks or months. so, again, it is back to that engagement piece. and that's why i answered your question probably somewhere in the middle, emerging from a time where we certainly didn't have a very strong relationship. >> same question about china. many people in china report that there's a growing sense within some sections of the chinese government that perhaps there's going to be an inevitable clash in the long run between china and the united states. particularly with relationship to the chinese navy. and its growing ambitions. do you see that? >> i don't see that as an automatic outcome at all. these are the two greatest economic powers in the country, two biggest economies -- i'm sorry in the world. and i think that there are
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opportunities and actually responsibilities that are tied to those positions. again, i think that the two leaders have taken steps to signal that we want to work together. we have huge challenges with respect to that. and it is a really critical part of the world. we have allies out there that we have supported over decades and we will continue to do that and we will do that with a strong military presence. yet, again, that's not the only part of this relationship. i think that there has been enough discussion of this to certainly put leaders in positions to head this relationship in the right direction so that we don't have any kind of catastrophic outcome. none of us believe that a conflict with china is going to be productive in any way, shape or form. >> final question. looking forward to this year, what do you see as your critical challenge? >> i clearly execution of the
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president's strategy in afghanistan and pakistan. and focused on the -- what i call the broader middle east to include south asia and i'm -- i remain very concerned about iran in that same vein. we will continue to come out of iraq after the elections which are now set for march 7th. and that appears to be on a good -- i was just in iraq and just confirmed that. >> you will be down to 50 thousand by the end of the year? >> absolutely. yes. that's the plan. we will start that right after the elections. the other thing that i'm very focused on is -- is the continued health of the force. force that has been in two conflicts pressed hard. i also will issue or try to spend time on what's next. these wars are going to end. the world is going to continue to grow in complexity. what's the united states military look like? what are our needs? what do we -- what kind of military do we have to have in a
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growing fiscal environment which is going to get tougher and i know that. i think the military leadership has to speak to this is what we believe we need for our national security. >> we will have that conversation when we have you on next. >> thanks. >> pleasure. >> it was great to be with you. right now, there's a nurse saving a life in baltimore. 20 minutes later, she'll bring one into the world in seattle. later today, she'll help an accident victim in kansas. how can one nurse be in all these places? through the nurses she taught in this place. johnson & johnson knows, behind every nurse who touches a life... there's a nurse educator... who first touched them. ♪ you're a nurse
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♪ you make a difference
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for a what in the world segment. what got my attention was this number. zero. nothing. that's the extraordinary number of american troops who died in combat in iraq last month. zero. and it doesn't seem like a fluke. in both october and november, only two u.s. war death wrsz reported. naturally tragic they happened but just two. for the entire last quarter of 2009, there were a total of four deaths. that's compared to a high of 126 in a single month, a tragic record seen twice in 2004. there are other bright spots. the iraqi government has launched an important conference. aimed at attracting investment there. businesses beginning to boom in that country. very healthy sign. iraq has become or is becoming
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something of a success story. i want to emphasize these are very early trends. iraq remains a very tough place. in fact, october saw only two u.s. combat deaths, it also saw the worst attack on iraqis in two years. two car bombing attacks on government buildings in baghdad killed more than 1 on 50 people and wounded another 500. and last month, when no americans died in combat, more than 120 iraqis, mostly iraqis, were killed in another coordinated baghdad bombing. what plagues iraq and is behind all of this violence is terrorism, of course, but behind that still some degree of sectarianism. sunni minority, some ways implicated with al qaeda, attacking shia majority, excluding it from power. perhaps more pressing now are the disputes between the kurds and the arabs. but if all of these political ethnic religious disputes can be mediated and they can with some luck, iraq could turn out to be
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a place where political differences are resolved through negotiations and elections. and whe it could become the first modern democratic country in the middle east, arab middle east. and that's good news all around. we will be right back. >> right before this attack, there was another attack in yemen. and there was a terrorist camp blown up. my goal was to take an idea and make it happen. i'm janet long and i formed my toffee company through legalzoom. i never really thought i would make money doing what i love. [ robert ] we created legalzoom to help people start their business and launch their dreams. go to legalzoom.com today and make your business dream a reality. at legalzoom.com we put the law on your side.
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whanchlgts do we think of the attempted christmas bombing over detroit? are we overreacting? i told my views at the top of the program and i think wore. but i want to find out from some of the smartest people in counterterrorism what they think. i have invited them here. joining me now are richard
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faulkenwrath, deputy commissioner of counterterrorism in new york city. steven flynn, the president of the center for national policy who has written a lot about the subject. from charlottesville, virginia, philip zelko, distinguished historian and former executive director of the 9/11 commission. i want to ask you about what this tells us about al qaeda, philip. because at one level, i -- when first heard about it, i thought to myself eight years after 9/11, what al qaeda has been able to do is -- you know, really find somebody tactical opportunity, this wacko nigerian guy comes to them and say let's wire him up with a sophisticated bomb and send him out. but a very different approach or strategy than what was going on in the '90s. there's no great progression. it does not suggest to me the kind of resurgence of al qaeda that lots of people are talking about. >> let's think about this. with you have an operation over
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christmas day that has the exact same concept of operations as the richard reid attack eight years ago. and before 9/11, 9/11 was the third large complex intercon tin ann ental operation. they blew up two embassies simultaneously. they conducted 9/11. all three of these operations where they are deploying operatives on a transcontinental basis, staging them in another place, and conducting fairly complex operations with the number of moving parts. and then you see this christmas bombing that's basically an attempt to replicate what they tried with richard reid eight years ago with a somewhat more sophisticated explosive device but the same concept. what's this tell us? it tells us that al qaeda is still at war with us and they are still trying to kill us. but their operational capability has been degraded and remains
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somewhat degraded. >> these are very different than the 9/11 attack and cole bombing and embassy bombing eight years ago. much more opportunistic as you say. lower level. what they show us is that this is still a very active threat and that the al qaeda franchises in other areas and in this case in the arabian peninsula are capable of launching their own attacks and there is a great deal of radicalization and extremism occurring out there in the world which every once in a while will turn up someone that's willing to carry out attack like this. and so that's what we have seen in the last year is about a dozen such cases in and around the united states of which this was the closest to causing mass casualties, another point is our intelligence community was focussed in on yemen in a serious way the last three years. we have known yemen was a big problem. but the assumption and the assessment was -- >> we have known about yemen a lot longer than three years. >> of course we have. but the assessment is that the terrorist based in yemen were a
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threat to yemen and especially to saudi arabia. that it was a cross border threat and i think there was a tendency to downplay the possibility that yemen would stage an attack transcontinentally into the united states in this case to an aircraft. >> in a sense you were saying you don't think that we are overreacting to this? >> well, we may be overreacting on the airport screening side of it. given all of the different things that we need do. airport screenings side of it i think are much more productive area to work on would be linking up the database was the foreign governments and airline system so we can more swiftly target people, we have intelligence reasons to believe are a threat. >> you think, though, that the -- the -- problem with this kind of overreaction it leads to very broad brushed measures rather than the targeted things you were in favor of? >> yeah. i think the bigger challenge, really, is that the -- motive for our adversaries to engage in terrorism as a military weapon, which it is, is to generate a big bang for their buck.
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so the extent to which we overreact politically as well as very expensive and disruptive, not very well thought out things to respond to the immediate concern that the terrorist incident fueling the motivation for acts of terror. and so a big element of how we make ourselves more secure going forward is to invest in the part that we as a democracy should be able to control and is our reaction or overreaction. we need to make ourselves more resilient. part of the resilience comes from being aware of the inherent limits of what we can be done by national intelligence. it is imperfect and will always be. the political dynamic is what i worry about. finger pointing. that's an incentive for people -- we can divide it and get them essentially spending themselves into security that's not going to make us that much secure. >> so when you look at the broader war on terror, i want to pick up on something richard was saying. the theory of the war on terror
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which we all have bought into is that this is a broad effort against a group of extremists that are within the islamic world and need to be a cancer within the islamic world and need to make a very active kind of offensive effort nation building in iraq and afghanistan. my guess is we are now going to be doing nation building in yemen. god knows it is a tough place to do it. should we be approaching this sort of differently? which is counterterrorism, very good intelligence, very good home land security, but, you know, whether or not we need to create a democracy in afghanistan, iraq, whether we need to produce good governance in yemen and solve their civil wars there, maybe that's not that important. >> we have vocabulary and it is a political argument about are we at war, not at war. the obama administration isn't at war. and this is a terrible argument. of course we are at war. that's literally in the sense of conducting an armed conflict.
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the obama administration is launching missile strikes against people and in at least three different countries whose names are not iraq or afghanistan. that's our conflict. a war is going on. the point is not that whether or not there is a war going on. the obama administration is conducting more such missile strikes per month than the bush administration was. the point is that it is more than a war. not less than a war. when you begin to say that the problem is a civilizational struggle within the muslim world which is right, points right, that the united states' responsible we have to send our people in to drain swamps and every one of those countries at the -- every one of the wilderness areas of the world need to be physically occupied by american troops and government officials to drain those swamps, we are embarking on a national agenda that is probably -- >> what do you think about this
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issue of should we be taking them -- mine in a sense i guess what i'm wondering is the biden for afghanistan, more true in a more global sense real focus on counterterrorism, real focus on intelligence, real focus on security and much broader effort to drain the swamp everywhere? >> you are take me back to my days a at the time white house and harvard. i'm now at the nypd. we are worried about far more local concerns. we need to be focused globally on this. nation building is likely to be -- not a particularly effective or at least cost-effective way to deal with this terrorism threat as we discussed it here. the effective way to deal with it is to find those few hundreds or maybe low thousands of people that are a threat, exclude them from our country, arrest them, bring them to justice and if we really have actionable intelligence and know they are a threat, destroy them from above. this is the -- the, i think,
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single most important thing that we need to be doing effectively tow protect this country. and i -- frankly, credit the obama administration not backing off as far as i can tell one bit from what the bush administration was doing and, indeed, expanding it in certain respects. right before this attack, there was another attack. in yemen. there was a terrorist camp. blown up from above. >> blown up probably using the u.s. -- using u.s. firepower. >> right. and so this is noteworthy fact. we may have had an intelligence failure on the defensive side. that's finding an operative when the bomb on his person coming into this country. but we were still you don'ting it in an offensive way which was locating part of the threat and destroying it. >> we will be back right after this with more on war on terror abroad and at home. >> very ingenious bomb designed expressly to evade detection. rather sophisticated bomb. it is like finding a needle in a
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haystack. bombs like this don't come along too often. 2 million people per day. we can spend billions and billions of dollars trying to get every one of these people e searched in this one bomb. that's everything for chicago. and fedex ground will get it there fast. wait. fedex has ground shipping? oh, that's right. you just woke up from a 23-year coma. yeah, it was a long one. did i miss anything? uh, the cold war ended. [ man ] pluto's no longer a planet. culture club broke up. the berlin wall came down. wait. the club broke up? i never saw them live.
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hello. i'm randi kaye. here is a look at this hour's top stories. president obama is accepting senate majority leader harry reid's apology for making racial comments about him during the presidential campaign. a new book kwoelts reid as saying obama could win the democratic nomination in part because he was, quote, light-skinned and because he had, quote, no negro dialect. republican party chairman michael steele says reid should step down as senate leader. a hard freeze expected tonight in florida could threaten the state's $9 billion citrus industry. the harvest is at its peak now. florida produces three-quarters of the u.s. orange crop in 40% of the world's orange juice supply. utility crews hard at work restoring electricity to thousands of homes after a strong earthquake. the magnitude quake hit yesterday afternoon near eureka, california. 25,000 customers lost power.
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we are back talking about
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the christmas day bombing and what we can make much it. richard, there's a lot of focus on the sort of partisan blame game. the system in place, whether it worked or not is largely a system created by the bush administration and i'm going to say by you. because you are actually a very key player in the bush white house on these issues. do you look at it that the instituti institutional structure was good that was data out there but that there was -- essentially a human error here in terms of somebody not doing something as simple as saying let's check if he applied for a visa. >> yeah, do i agree. the structure is basically sound as it is. the collection efforts that were under way against these targets and many others worldwide are very impressive, far beyond what they were beyond 9/11 and a human error, very bad one because as the facts of the case dribble out we will see it was a clear connection that should have been made and was -- was not made. >> there was another
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recommendation in the 9/11 commission that was specific. which was about screening passengers for explosives because it strikes me there are two scrubs here. one issue of why the guy was allowed to fly with a visa, with a valid visa, not double-check. the second is that he was allowed on bring a bomb onboard. a kind of makeshift bomb. the commission actually specifically called for better screening. why did that not happen? >> we were -- our recommendation was more specific than that. we said as an urgent matter, improve your screening for people carrying explosives. so that was -- this was 5 1/2 years ago. but it is important to understand here that peopmore o less built the system that congress, the interest groups influencing congress, and the executive branch wanted. what you are doing is making tradeoffs here between how much risk do we accept versus what costs we will impose, monetary
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costs, costs of hiring extra people to do work, and costs that will impose on people's privacy. and so you are constant lip kind of turning the dial to find the the dial to find the right balance between risk and cost. but the main point to observe here is that we made these recommendations five and a half years ago and the technologies are not the limited factor. the factor is the balance the societies want to strike between cost and risk and the way governments are responsive to what they are hearing from the society about the balance. >> steve flynn, is the balance striking right? in other words, despite this one very bad screw-up, were we at about the right place or should we be doing what seems to be happening now, which is turning the dial substantially further in terms of more checking, more
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pat-downs and more screenings? >> the overall effort really since september 11th, the real resources have been applied is in the war on terror piece taken the enemy to the battle. an ongoing effort. the efforts we put in place for homeland security have been a distant second in terms of overall effort and energy, best and brightest are not spending every day thinking about the vulnerabilities at home. and the management challenges, training issues for front line agents, immigration officials or so forth, that's not the front lines in the way we've approached this. there are limits to what we can do, always going to be an imperfect system and the defenses are pretty important. >> there's another perspective on this. we have roughly 2 million passengers per day on aircraft flying inside the united states or into it per day. this is a very ingenius bomb,
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designed to evade detection, sos fisty indicated bomb. the bombs like this don't come along very often. 2 million people per day. we can spend billions and billions of dollars trying to get these people xautively searched in the effort of finding the one bomb that comes on. by contrast, we have 5.5 million people a day that ride the new york city subway, twice as many on the new york city subway as every commercial aircraft into and out of the united states a day. we spend a tiny fraction to secure the subway, which has twice as many people at far higher densities -- >> i worry about sport stadiums for example, you could kill more people than -- >> you can't just focus on airline security. we can spend a lot of money to try to tighten this up, and we have on airline security.
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but there are a lot of other vulnerabilities out there. this bomb, if it's used again, has the potential to bring down an aircraft and is really hard to detect. >> one of the key points, really highlighting what the other areas being vulnerable. airline security is the crown jewel of the post 9/11 efforts. the reaction to the 9/11 scenario itself, there are other big parts of the infrastructure and good moves on professional sports stadiums, but there are other big gaping holes and reports still remain vulnerable chemical refineries -- >> tell the story of the los angeles port. >> in long beach, really one complex, two cities occupy that port complex. brings in 50% of the energy west of the rocky mountains, people require refineries working out of the complex to crank that fuel out and it's just in time.
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only about seven days of refined fuels in the southern california economy. you disrupt that port, you literally run -- >> literally coming out of one tap. >> coming out of one tap in a port of long beach. if you can't basically recover it quickly, be resilient enough to bounce back, there are no plans to manage this con ting ensy and in part because they don't view the los angeles port as a strategic port. what's astonishing, we have a new war that's in our civil and economic space. that's where they will most likely attack on u.s. soil. we spend a huge amount of money safeguarding military aspects and states and local ats that don't have the private sector to take care of themselves. >> i want to thank phillip and richard, two republicans here, one independent i assume. we've been able to have a serious conversation that is not
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degenerated in any partisan name calling. one wishes this could happen more in washington. we'll be right back. create your own business site with intuit websites. just choose a style, then customize, publish and get found. sweet. get a 30-day free trial at intuit.com. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
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now for our question of the week. i didn't ask you one last week since we were resting our brains for the holiday. now that we're back to work, here's what i want to know. we talked about the uproar over the attempted bombing of that plane over detroit. do you think the intelligence
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reviews and political fights, do you think it's an overreaction or is it warranted? i think it is an overreaction and i have a feeling i'm in a minority here, but let me know what you think, as always, i'd like to recommend a book. this is a terrific one i read over the holidays "india after gandhi the history of the world's largest democracy" by ramachandra guha. the book is not a quick read. it's about 700 pages. it is a vivid complex, it's the story of a country that is, in fact, a conglomeration of vastly different states and cultures, all of which fought an epic struggle to become an unlikely union. think about it, this is a country with 15 distinct official languages, 400 dialects and yet it has somehow become a single democracy that works. obviously, i'm fascinated by the story. i was born and raised in india, and i think you will be, too. it's very well written. before we go, let me remind you of oor